Aggressive encounters lead to negative affective state in fish

Animals show various behavioural, neural and physiological changes in response to losing aggressive encounters. Here, we investigated affective state, which are emotion-like processes influenced by positive or negative experiences, in a territorial fish following aggressive encounters and explore links to bold/shy behavioural traits. Eighteen 15-month old Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) received three tests in order […]

Assessing and Enhancing the Welfare of Animals with Equivocal and Reliable Cues

The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals’ well-being as well as help to support it. Our aim is to assist in further developing techniques to learn animals’ affective state from their behavior and […]

Welfare Effects of the Use of a Combination of Local Anesthesia and NSAID for Disbudding Analgesia in Dairy Calves—Reviewed Across Different Welfare Concerns

Across the international dairy industry, the vast majority of dairy herds have dehorned cows. Farmers choose to dehorn calves for different reasons such as easier handling of non-horned cattle and reduced risk of injuries in animals and staff. This review focuses on disbudding by use of hot-iron cautery as is practiced by dairy farmers in […]

Sheep exhibit a positive judgement bias and stress-induced hyperthermia following shearing

The detection of judgement biases may improve welfare evaluations by measuring the cognitive component, particularly the valence, of affective states. Judgement biases have been successfully demonstrated in various laboratory animals but only recently in sheep. Chronic stressors have been found to induce a negative judgement bias and a short-term stressor (restraint and isolation stress) a […]

Measuring judgement bias and emotional reactivity in sheep following long-term exposure to unpredictable and aversive events

Animal welfare research is now starting to measure the cognitive component of affective states in an effort to improve welfare assessments of animals. Twenty-six Romane ewe lambs were trained to a spatial location task previously demonstrated to test for judgement bias in sheep. This required a go/no-go response according to the location of a bucket […]

Larger, enriched cages are associated with ‘optimistic’ response biases in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

Anxious and depressed humans typically view circumstances more pessimistically than non-depressed individuals. Here, we explore the proposal that such cognitive biases also exist in non-human animals, and could be used as novel measures of animal welfare. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that wild-caught captiveEuropeanstarlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are more optimistic in their interpretation of ambiguous stimuli […]

Performance on a categorisation task suggests that removal f environmental enrichment induces ‘pessimism’ in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

Improving the quality of life of captive animals is dependent on developing valid measures of how animals feel about their lives. It has recently been suggested that biases in information processing may offer a novel means of understanding animal emotions. Anxious and depressed people tend to interpret ambiguous information negatively. We explored the proposal that […]

Assessing the welfare status of newborn farm animals

Although major progress has been made during the last 50 years in understanding the causes of, and devising methods to minimise, neonatal mortality and morbidity in farm animals, almost all of this progress has been made without an explicit animal welfare focus. Nevertheless, knowledgeable intervention at birth now markedly reduces the total amount of animal […]

Cross sectional study comparing behavioural, cognitive and physiological indicators of welfare between short and long term kennelled domestic dogs

Affective states are an integral part of animal welfare but are difficult to assess using traditional welfare measurements. It has previously been shown that kennelled dogs commonly show indications of poor welfare. The aim of this study was to compare welfare of short-term (ST) and long-term (LT) kennel housed rehoming centre dogs using a range […]

Performance of sheep in a spatial maze is impeded by negative stimuli

Exposure to negative stimuli or stress can manifest in general changes in cognitive processing. This study aimed to investigate if a spatial maze task could be used to identify stress-induced differences in the cognitive performance of sheep. Two negative stimuli were used to test the hypothesis. For a negative pre-treatment (‘dog’ pre-treatment), sheep were moved […]